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Carnoustie 2021

Korda relishing Carnoustie challenge


Olympic champion looking to continue memorable year

Nelly Korda during a practice round ahead of the AIG Women

Carnoustie may offer completely contrasting conditions to Tokyo but newly-crowned Olympic champion Nelly Korda is confident she can take the challenge in her stride.

Occupying the top step on the podium in Japan was the latest chapter in a memorable year for the American, who won her first career major at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in May.

That success followed on from two other LPGA triumphs in 2021 and the world no.1 will begin the AIG Women’s Open as the player to beat at Carnoustie.

She begins her quest for glory at 8:09am BST on Thursday alongside Nasa Hataoka and Charley Hull in one of the standout groups of the opening two days and hopes to adapt quickly to a course a long way – both literally and figuratively – from the Kasumigaseki Country Club.

“It was so hot in Tokyo, and [here] it's going to be chilly, rainy,” said Korda, who came close to shooting sub-60 in the second round of her Olympic triumph only to double bogey the last.

“It's going to be firm. You have to really just mentally prepare yourself because you're going to hit bad shots. The wind is just going to take it.

“Just make sure you're okay with that and that you're going to be in those pot bunkers.

“It's definitely very linksy. Probably the most links golf course I've played to this date.

“It's going to be very important to minimise your mistakes off the tee and see how the wind is but it's a very, very nice golf course. We’ll see what kind of test we have these next few days.”

Nelly Korda

Korda’s best finish in the AIG Women’s Open came at Woburn in 2019 when she tied for ninth and this will be her first attempt at tackling the notorious Carnoustie test.

In truly modern fashion, the 23-year-old has been using social media to gain an insight into the challenges that await – particularly around the famous 18th hole and the Barry Burn.

“I was actually looking on Instagram and sometimes when you like look up those geo tags, you can click on it,” she said.

“I was looking through a couple days ago and seeing the history behind this golf course. Hopefully 18 treats me well.”

Korda will hope to be among the front-runners for the newly-improved prize pot of $870,000 and she received plenty of praise from her competitors in the run-up to this year’s AIG Women’s Open.

Catriona Matthew, who will be leading Europe’s attempts to beat Korda and her American team-mates at the upcoming Solheim Cup, said: “She's got that potential to be dominant, without a doubt.

“If she can keep that form going, I don't see why she couldn't be dominant. I think it is good for women's golf to have a dominant player.

“You saw how Tiger [Woods] elevated the PGA Tour. If you have someone that becomes dominant, she starts to be known by non-golfers, which then maybe encourages them to come and watch golf. So yeah, I think it would be a good thing.”

Hull, who will be sharing the fairways with Korda on Thursday and Friday, added: “I’ve played with her quite a few times this year.

“She's playing really well and it's really good what she's doing for the game. She’s a really nice girl and it will be good fun.”

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